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Spirituality and Psychology

Dominique Salin, SJ-La Civiltà Cattolica - Wed, Dec 1st 2021


Many people in the Church in France are concerned about the dangers of deviation and manipulation present in certain retreats, meetings or prayer groups that offer “psycho-spiritual” therapies. These practices, coming largely from overseas, raise fundamental questions: Should we recognize boundaries between the spiritual and the psychological? Which ones? On what basis?

Such perplexity and bewilderment invite us to establish reference points that are as clear as possible on a complex, controversial terrain. In this article I intend to show that this is a typical question of the modern era and that, certainly, the spiritual and psychological elements are mixed in the unity of the human person, but today as yesterday, there is a distinction between ways  of thinking about spiritual experience, as well as on the level of practice  (psychotherapy, spiritual accompaniment and the pastoral dimension in general).

A modern matter

A contemporary of St. Thomas Aquinas would undoubtedly not have understood the title of this article. In fact, the term “psychology” in the sense in which we ordinarily use it has only appeared recently. It was first used in the 18th century to define the study of the phenomena of mental life (Leibniz and Wolff), and only in the 19th century was psychology established as a scientific discipline, as a “human science.”

The word had appeared before, but only marginally, at the end of the Renaissance when the great originality of Western culture appeared in the birth of modernity, with the first symptoms of the disenchantment of the world and the secularization of spirits, a birth marked by the traumatic effects of the Reformation. It was then that the term psychology began to be used in humanist and reformed circles (Marko Maruli? and Philip Melanchthon[1]).

Europeans were becoming increasingly interested in what we now call “the subjective experience of the individual.” The term “psychology” is therefore contemporary with the emergence of modernity when the human person began to assert individual identity, in his or her subjectivity before God, and soon against God. At the same time, the distinction was deepened between the order of nature (which needs God less and less in order to function) and the order of the spiritual (which becomes understood more and more as supernatural, that is, miraculous or magical).

As for the term “spirituality,” our use of it today is even more recent. In fact, it began to spread at the time of the First World War; previously there was talk of piety or devotion.[2] The evolution of the term is a sign of an evolution of mentalities. From a situation of peaceful coexistence between what we today call spirituality and psychology, in the 20th century we reached a situation of competition, or rather conflict, or confusion between these two spheres. Briefly, we can consider three epochs in the way we conceive what we call “spiritual life” in the broad sense of the term, that is, the “life of the spirit.”

Peaceful times

Until toward the end of the Middle Ages, Christian doctrine was dominated by a form of happy unity between the spiritual life of individuals and the usual representation of human psychology. On the one hand, no thought was given to a particular teaching of the spiritual life. In continuity with the patristic era, this life was nourished by the teaching of “sacred doctrine” (theology). On the other hand, the usual representation of psychic life did not pose theoretical problems.

Whether one adopted the bipartite – body/soul – or the tripartite – body/soul (psych?)/spirit (pneuma) – scheme, whether one was Augustinian or Thomist, in any of the above the psychic structure of the person was generally open to the Holy Spirit (pneuma hagion). The opening of spirit and heart to what is greater, deeper or higher than us (the image of God, the First-born Word), the aspiration to the Supreme Good; in short, the sense of Mystery and the desire for God were not unexpected in a world immersed in God. Certainly the individual was free not to accept this fourth dimension of existence in his or her own life. Saint Paul had written that “those who are left to their own powers (psychikoi) do not understand the things of God’s Spirit (pneuma)” (1 Cor 2:14). Such a person behaves carnally; we would say as a materialist. But what we call today, by anachronism, “the psychology of the individual,” was not understood outside of a representation of the human soul or spirit normally open to the spiritual.

Before the end of the Middle Ages, a rift gradually opened in this unity. Philosophy began to distinguish itself from theology and to acquire its own autonomy, preparing for the moment when reason would try to conceive of world by putting God in brackets. For its part, the culture of the spiritual life – mystical theology – developed increasingly outside the faculties of theology, in monasteries and fervent circles, together with the teaching of scholastic theology, and increasingly in conflict with it (an antagonism prefigured in the 12th century by the conflict between Saint Bernard and Abelard, the monk and the professor).

There was the beginning of a divorce, therefore, even before the end of the Middle Ages, not only between reason and faith, but also between theology and life, between theology and spiritual experience: as if theology could no longer account for spiritual experience in its “psychological dimension” (another anachronism!). A second epoch was announced, which would no longer involve the happy unity of knowledge, of the vision of the world and of the idea of the human person.

Differentiations and antagonisms

This rift between the way of living one’s faith and the way of thinking about it, between spiritual experience and theology, became manifest at the time of the Renaissance. This is one of the elements of the crisis that marked the birth of modern times, and from which the Reformation derived. With regard to the structure of the soul, the re-reading of Aristotle and St. Paul by humanists went in the direction of a separation between the poles (psychic and spiritual), which should instead have remained in positive tension.

The dissociation was accentuated in the 18th and 19th centuries. It gave rise to secularized societies and mentalities, as they are today. The secularization of reason, the secularization of mentalities, which evidently includes a secularization of the spiritual life involves a spiritual life without the “supernatural,” which is “horizontal” (the one dealt with today, for example, by André Comte-Sponville or Luc Ferry). At the same time, the religious vision of the world and Christian spirituality were increasingly considered incompatible with modern thought.

In this framework, the development of psychology, i.e. the study of mental life, took place according to a double movement. First, psychology, which was born in the religious world, developed in a secularized form. In fact, psychologists took the place of analysts of the spiritual life and the human heart, such as Evagrius, Augustine, Bernard, Dionysius the Carthusian, Ignatius of Loyola, John of the Cross, Francis de Sales; and then, in the 17th century, of moralists, great explorers of the human heart and of the wiles of “self-love” (amor sui, “love of the self” according to Augustine): Racine, Pascal, La Bruyère, La Rochefoucauld or Madame de Lafayette.

Secular psychologists (not clerics) took the place of spiritual directors, moving further and further away from religious thought. Thus psychology came to be built against religion, or at least according to a perspective that transforms spirituality into psychology (Freud’s point of view): the secularization of human consciousness. This secularization was already visible in Montaigne, at the end of the Renaissance. His essays are the first great explorations of a human conscience after Saint Augustine and almost at the same time as the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Ávila; but the “interior” of Montaigne, that is, the spiritual life in the broad sense of the word, is no longer that of Saint Augustine. Montaigne is certainly a good Roman Catholic, but God and the Holy Spirit never intervene directly in his spiritual life, not even in the chapter entitled “Prayers”. This is therefore a case of secularization in the life of the spirit.

Secondly, in correspondence with this secularization of consciences, a psychologization of the spiritual life can be observed. This occurred first of all in spiritual anthropology, in the representation of the structure of the soul and union with God. For the great spiritual writers of the Middle Ages (Eckhart, Tauler, Ruysbroeck and their disciples), union with God was not accomplished at the level of memory, intellect and will, but was accomplished beyond what we call “psychological consciousness,” beyond what the soul can know, feel or experience, in what they called the “essence” or the “center” or the “castle” of the soul, a kind of sanctuary that escapes the inner gaze. It is accomplished in pure faith, but develops in isolation.

Things changed with Francis de Sales at the beginning of the 17th century. The union with God, he says, is realized in the “tip of the spirit,” in the “end tip of the soul.” But this “tip of the soul” is no longer the equivalent of the vertex of the soul, (apex mentis) in Saint Augustine, or of the essence of the soul in medieval spiritual writers, but has become almost a faculty of the soul, a “super faculty.” It now depends more or less (this is not clear in the writings and thought of Francis de Sales) on what we call “psychological consciousness.” The soul comes to know, to a certain extent, what happens in its “tip” at the moment of its highest union with God, an “almost unknowable” union, as he describes it.

What needs to be pointed out here is that from the 17th century onward we began to distinguish and analyze, with ever more passionate and refined curiosity, the impact of grace in the psychological life. At what moment does God act in me, and how? In what way has my psychology been touched by grace? In this area, there is a growing interest in phenomena called “supernatural,” whether spectacular or not.

This psychologization of the spiritual life is also observed, secondly, in the social field. Faced with spectacular phenomena – such as cases of possession, visions, stigmata, ecstasy, glossolalia, inedia (anorexia) – the authorities and the Church will increasingly turn to doctors and magistrates. It is up to them to decide: Is this an authentic spiritual experience? Is it a mental illness? Is it diabolical possession? A fraud? This manifested itself in the 17th century with the episode of the Loudun possessions (1634), with the case of the Jesuit mystic Joseph Surin, and with many other episodes.[3] The psychiatric approach to the spiritual life took pride of place, which was clearly established by the end of the 19th century with Charcot’s work on hysteria at La Salpêtrière, in the presence of the young Freud.[4]

On the horizon of this psychologization and secularization of the spiritual life, we can identify two attitudes that developed in the 19th and 20th centuries. First, a secular, or rather atheistic and anti-Christian current, made up of many psychiatrists and psychoanalysts who, following Freud, believed that the spiritual element could be traced back to psychological factors. Another current, symmetrical and in reaction to the first, believed that spirituality had nothing to do with psychology. Grace is not interested in nature and acts as it sees fit. There is therefore nothing interesting to learn from psychologists; on the contrary, one must fear them like the plague, because they make one lose faith! This was the official point of view of the Church on the eve of the Second Vatican Council.

One can clearly see what motivated this refusal. By proclaiming that the spiritual element has nothing to do with the psychological, they naively believed that it was sheltered from psychological criticism and its destructive effect. It should be noted, moreover, that the Protestant Reformation had adopted a similar position. Traditionally hostile to mysticism, which in their eyes was a form of a revival of paganism (Luther, Karl Barth), and concerned to affirm the omnipotence of grace, the Reformers tended to radically distinguish the psychological from the spiritual.[5]

In the mid-20th century, there was a split, indeed an antagonism, between psychology and spirituality. But then an evolution began, which opened the way to what can be considered a third epoch.

Looking for a connection

At first there was the intuition of some pioneers, who were not resigned to accepting this split between psychology and spirituality. They were encouraged by the writing published, starting in 1936, by Fr. Bruno di Gesù-Maria in the magazine Études carmélitaines. These are based initially on evidence: in the personal experience of the Christian, spirituality and psychology are mixed inextricably. God speaks to me, touches me, calls me through the prism of my temperament, of my character, of my personality, therefore of everything that has contributed to forming my personality: my parents, the education I received, the meetings, the events; to deny this would cause me to remain a prisoner.

Later those pioneers believed that spiritual guides, in seminaries and novitiates, should learn something from psychologists. They have helped many to survive their neuroses, so they can also help Christians to live their faith in a less childish way, and seminarians to be clearer with regard to the secondary motivations of their vocation. These explorers, like the priest Marc Oraison, were initially disapproved of by the hierarchy. It is true that some played the role of sorcerer’s apprentices with psychoanalysis, like Bernard Besret in the monastery of Bouquen, or Ivan Illich in Cuernavaca. But their ranks and skills soon grew from the 1960s.

We remember some of them: first of all the Jesuit Louis Beirnaert, close to Jacques Lacan, and the Dominican Albert Plé. These two founded in 1961 the Medical-psychological Association of Aid to Religious (AMAR). Initially it was to help candidates for religious life to verify their psychological aptitude; but soon AMAR was offering psychological formation to spiritual formators. We should also cite Maurice Bellet, Antoine Vergote, Denis Vasse, Gérard Sévérin, to mention only a few psychoanalyst priests; equally Françoise Dolto and Marie Balmary. Many believers do not judge psychoanalysis as incompatible with faith, quite the contrary.

Today Catholic authorities are less prejudiced against psychology and psychoanalysis. Undertaking psychotherapy or analysis is now commonplace. It must also be said that the human sciences – psychoanalysis like the others – have lost much of their arrogance of the 1960s and 1970s, and no longer claim to possess the keys to human knowledge. The same thing happens to them as happens to the natural sciences: the more they progress, the more they encounter the unknown. “Man surpasses man.”

The generation of pioneers has been succeeded by another that tries to link psychology and spirituality on a theoretical level: Jacques Arènes, François Balmès, Jean-François Noël, Laurent Lemoine, Jean-Baptiste Lecuit, Bernard Forthomme, to name but a few psychoanalysts and philosopher-theologians. Their research takes different directions, but most of them refer to Freud (more often through Lacan) rather than Jung (who initially scares believers less). Here is not the place to describe the variety of their orientations. Many of them reflect on the notion of sublimation, which Freud himself had not treated at length, and which seems to them to open a very fertile field. It is to be noted that all of them, particularly Antoine Vergote, insist on the distinction between the spiritual path and the analytical path.[6] There is a profound similarity, but the two paths do not really coincide. Arènes speaks of “tension” between these two fields, believing that the spiritual element today must be taken into consideration by psychoanalysts as a component of the process of subjectification, but without calling into question the ideological and religious neutrality of analytic care.[7]

Can this search for a scientific, theoretical link between the thought of the spiritual and psychological fields one day be crowned by a success that will convince everyone? It can be doubted. The mystery that is the human person is likely to remain    impenetrable for the forseeable future, like the mystery that is God. In any case, the unity of the human person today appears even more complex than at the time of Saint Paul. We must therefore respect the different approaches, as Saint Paul himself did when he distinguished “psychic man” from “pneumatic man,” open to the Spirit of God.

Dangerous confusions

If we are to reject any split, any dualism that radically separates spirituality and psychology, we must nevertheless take the different points of view seriously, to avoid falling into dangerous confusions. It is certainly not a question of perpetuating the distinction that has dominated for too long in the Church, between health and salvation. I think, first of all, of the salvation of souls. The importance of the care of the body, the health of the body and the spirit has too often been played down. The body and sexuality have often been devalued or ignored – it seems since the 19th century – in the spiritual direction and education of young people (but not only in the Church), thus fostering neuroses and masochistic behavior. Pure spirituality was sought, and at times damage to the personality occurred: literature has benefited from this.

Today the opposite trend is manifest: many people in the Church are ready to pursue the current quest for health at all costs. In fact, they point out the imperative that dominates our contemporaries: you must be fit, in good physical and mental health, at all costs. You have no right to feel ill. We cannot bear the idea others have of a “degraded” image of the self. Against this background the imperative of healing has developed, more or less naively. The psychotherapist must heal me; God can heal me. This explains the rapacious demand for healing, which pushes people to come to healing meetings or gatherings, in evangelical, Catholic and other churches.

There is here a confusion between psychology and spirituality, which does not do justice to either. It seems that certain encounters of “spiritual healing” invite, in the name of the Spirit, a review of family relationships, to identify – and therefore, implicitly to blame – a father or a mother as responsible for the malaise one suffers from, in order to forgive them. But Jesus does not demonize anyone before effecting a cure: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned” (John 9:3).[8] One must not confuse the levels. Too many people today are doubly ill: sick with sickness and sick with not healing. Moreover, as Lecuit and Forthomme point out, there are also “healings” from which one must learn to heal, because they are the work of an idol or a wizard God, rather than the God of Jesus Christ.[9]

For Jesus not only heals from sickness, but also heals from the obsession with health. He heals from the bad conscience of not being in good health, of not being exemplars in terms of vitality and joy, like the ecstatic figures in advertising posters. Jesus also heals from healing, as Forthomme explains. To the Gerasene demoniac who, once freed, would like to follow him, Jesus answers: “Leave me alone! Be yourself and return to your senses!” (cf Luke 8:27-39). Indeed, true health, like “great health” according to Nietzsche, is compatible with the illness of body and spirit. One can be incurably depressed and a good disciple      of Jesus, psychologically damaged and a true friend of Jesus and other people.

The confusion between psychology and spirituality can take root in an alienating religious need, which has little to do with the desire for salvation and spiritual freedom offered by Jesus. The God of Jesus Christ does not take the place of Aesculapius. In the religious demand for healing there can be an instrumentalization of God that partially justifies modern atheism. One should not despise popular religion, but not everything in it is to be encouraged.

Another version of the confusion of levels today can be seen in many places and publications where spirituality is taught. Today, most American universities have a Department of Spirituality. What you learn there is generally the art of living at peace with others and with yourself. This is already something positive, certainly; but one can doubt that this does full justice to the Gospel message and the tensions it clarifies and helps one to endure, without being able to resolve them.

Distinguish to understand

Christian thought, when it is at its best, that is, when it renounces being an “explanatory theology,” as Maurice Merleau-Ponty said, is a thought that refuses to deny the tensions, bipolarity and contradictions of existence. Like Blaise Pascal, it accentuates them to better discover their meaning. It is therefore a thought that proceeds by parables, metaphors, oxymorons, paradoxes (to use the title of two excellent little books by Fr. Henry de Lubac) rather than by conceptual syntheses or dialectical procedures. It is “spiritual or mystical theology” in particular: “luminous darkness,” “learned ignorance,” “sweet wound” etc. But the oxymoron of oxymorons is the “Man-God” as was commonly asserted in the 17th century.

The same happens in the pairing of psychology-spirituality, which is also modern. The one cannot be thought of without the other; neither is reduced to the other. We must respect the difference in viewpoints, because it cannot be overcome in our lives. There are times when I can make a completely “psychological” re-reading of my life: all my crucial choices, my limitations and failures; if I try to be honest with myself, I can produce a psychological explanation. Usually one indulges in this kind of exercise in moments of depression: yes, it’s just me; I’ve always made the wrong choices;  I’ve deluded myself; I’m worth nothing; I’ll never get over it. But there are other moments in which I am very surprised to have overcome a certain obstacle, to have rid myself of a certain difficulty, of the joy that is in me; moments in which I say to myself, considering my own past: it is not possible; I have been led. The two readings are equally well founded.

This impression that there is something else in the self (“The ‘I’ is another”), this experience, for example, of being able to say, after having done the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius: “This decision I have truly made, freely,” and also to be able to say: “This decision that was made by me, was the decision wanted by God ,” and that these two propositions are both well-founded.  This kind of experience reflects the inevitable duality (or rather bipolarity, but not dualism) that constitutes me. There is the weight of my psyche (inheritance, conditioning and different experiences, happy and unhappy and so on); in short, there is all my past that drags me back and leads me back ( the arch?, as Paul Ricoeur puts it): so my truth is behind me, and I cannot deny it.

And there is – not elsewhere, but in the same baggage that I carry with me, in the weight that I am for myself – the unpredictable aspects of my desire, of my will, of my freedom; these are stretched toward the future, and sometimes they are capable, as I believe (but sometimes I cannot fail to believe it), of arousing, of creating or of welcoming in my life the new, the unexpected, the unhoped for, the incredible. After all, it is precisely this newness that makes it possible for us to return to our past and leads us to reconsider it with a different outlook, which renews its meaning. One can say then that the past changes almost as often as the future.

It would be wrong to believe that psychoanalysis is concerned only with the past and that spirituality is concerned only with the future, or at least the present moment. Spirituality must take on the past; it cannot annul it with a great blow of hope, like Sartre’s concept of freedom in a famous debate with Maurice Merleau-Ponty, precisely about psychoanalysis. This would be not to recognize also the necessary involvement of desire, of deep will, of openness to differences in those who engage in a psychotherapeutic path, as well as in their therapist. The human being is not a machine, and the cure is the same as assembling meccano constructions .[10] Against this backdrop of theoretical beliefs one can attain references for practices.

Differentiated practices

It is useless to insist on the risks of roles being confused, when the spiritual guide tries to be a psychotherapist, or the therapist tries to be a spiritual guide. Certainly nothing prevents the same person from taking on both roles. But this is a theoretical point of view: in reality, there are very few people who could perform the two functions properly. We know the devastation that this type of attempt can cause: at least, the worsening of symptoms and the collapse into despair.[11] Transference is no joke, and psychic treatment cannot be reduced to a few slogans or tricks.

The specificity of the particular procedures must be respected. If one seeks me as a spiritual interlocutor, our exchanges will be on the ground of faith, however fragile it may be: faith in the Spirit of Jesus Christ and the desire that works in both. I am certainly interested in being informed as much as possible on a psychological level. But if we find together that the person is confronted with an enigma by which he or she is deeply troubled, or suffers from debilitating symptoms, I will direct that person to a competent specialist. In this way, two different dialogues can take place, on two different levels. Schizophrenia? No, but binocular parallax for a clear view of the same reality, the person.[12] It is first of all the person in question who must unify the two points of view, an adaptation that is sometimes difficult. The dialogue with the therapist can take up more space than the other. One has confidence in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. But under no circumstances will I try to imitate the experienced psychologist.

In addition, I will advise the person not to participate in prayer meetings or gatherings and other spiritual, collective or individual initiatives of a psychotherapeutic nature if I do not know the organizers personally. The dangers involved are too great. The manipulators are not necessarily cynical individuals; they can be perfectly sincere people, but very naive.

Every companion or spiritual guide must ask him or herself without complacency what secondary motivations have prompted them to accept, or to seek, the condition of spiritual director. Psychotherapists, for their part, should do the same. What can one hide behind the desire for such a difficult position? What sum of perverse tendencies, of frustrations to be compensated for, of the will to power? No doubt too many people, proclaimed or self-proclaimed “spiritual companions,” are visibly pleased (despite the efforts they make to try to conceal it) to occupy this position so gratifying in their eyes. But this task should only be accepted when it cannot be avoided. It is not easy to exercise this responsibility properly; and it is easy to harm people instead of helping them.

* * *

The trivialization of psychology and psychoanalysis and the division into many schools and currents have contributed much to reduce their prestige, or the reverential fear that they once inspired. In the media and literature a vaguely Freudian theme is available to sorcerer’s apprentices, who indulge their egos both in the field of psychotherapy and in the Churches. The state does what it can to control the former. Church leaders must be stringent in checking on the personality, experience and competence of those who take on the responsibility of leadership; provided, of course, that they are given the means to train and subject them to control.

DOI: La Civiltà Cattolica, En. Ed. Vol. 4, no. 09 art. 2, 0920: 10.32009/22072446.0920.2

[1].    Marko Maruli? (Marcus Marulus), born around 1450 in Split (Croatia), is the author of a work entitled Psichologia de ratione animae humanae (“Psychology of the human spirit”), 1524. Philip Melanchthon      (1497-1560) was a collaborator with Luther.

[2].    The magazine La vie spirituelle was founded by the Dominicans in 1919; the monumental Dictionnaire de spiritualité was published by the Jesuits in 1932 (final edition      in 1995).

[3].    For example, Marthe Brossier’s possession. The Traité des énergumènes (“Treatise      on the possessed”), published on this occasion by the young Pierre de Bérulle in 1599, protests significantly against the growing power of doctors and judges. Bérulle recalls that the final decision belongs to the Church ( specifically to the bishop). Cf. P. de Berulle, Oeuvres complètes 6, Paris, Cerf, 1997, 71-155, in particular 153-155). See also M. de Certeau, La possession de Loudun, Paris, Julliard, 1970.

[4].    Regarding this medicalization of the spiritual life, see the excellent study by B. Forthomme, De l’acédie monastique à l’anxio-dépression. Histoire philosophique de la transformation d’un vice en pathologie, Paris, Synthélabo, 2002.

[5].    Especially Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose father was a psychiatrist. Today many reformed people no longer maintain this position.

[6].    See J.B. Lecuit, L’anthropologie théologique à la lumière de la psychologie. La contribution majeure d’Antoine Vergote, Paris, Cerf, 2007; D. Struyf – B. Pottier, Psychologie et spiritualité. Enjeux pastoraux, Brussels, Lessius, 2012. As far as the Roman academic institutions are concerned, one must remember the work of Fr. Luigi M. Rulla and the Institute of Psychology of the Pontifical Gregorian University.

[7].    Cf. J. Arènes, La quête spirituelle hier et aujourd’hui. Un point de vue psychanalytique, Paris, Cerf, 2011; Id., Croire au temps du Dieu fragile. Psychanalyse du deuil de Dieu, ibid., 2012.

[8].    Sects begin to detach the individual from the family and from the world outside. “You have to break up with your family, because it’s the cause of all evil!”

[9].    Cf. B. Forthomme, L’expérience de la guérison, Paris, Seuil, 2002; Id., “Croisements du psychique et du spirituel”, in Revue d’étique et de théologie morale, 267 (2011) 71-110; J.B. Lecuit, “Enjeux actuels de la spiritualisation”, in L. Lemoine (ed.), Vérité et désir. Expérience spirituelle et expérience psychanalytique, Paris, Cerf, 2010, 55-83.

[10].   “The logic of creation and incarnation in no way favors the dualism between the spiritual and the psychic, which can entice the believer, especially because it seems to offer support to the psychological critique of religion; on the contrary, it leads one to consider psychic reality as willed by God, urged by his revelation and involved in his reception” (J.B. Lecuit, “Enjeux actuels de la spiritualisation”, op. cit., 56).

[11].   Livre noir de l’emprise psycho-spirituelle, of the Centre against mental manipulation, 124-144.

[12].   “On the one hand, psychoanalysis can observe what, in the discourses and phenomena of the spiritual life of the believer, depends on its method; on the other hand, the way in which the Christian faith implements and presents the development of the human being invites it to consider psychoanalysis” (J.B. Lecuit, “Enjeux actuels de la spiritualisation”, op. cit., 56).

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